Thursday, August 6, 2009

A’summa parenti? Are we related?

The short answer to this question is yes, if your family came from Giusvalla, then you are probably related in some way to other people whose family came from there. Giusvalla has always been a small town, with just a handful of nuclear families intermarrying generation after generation, it is a mathematical probability that if we go back far enough into our family history, all we Giusvallèn will discover a common ancestry in at least one branch of our family.

However, it would be inaccurate to simply assume that all Baccino, Bonifacino or Perrone families sprung from the same ancestral patriarch. For example, it is well-known in Giusvalla that the various Bonifacino families are descended from the soldiers of “Bonifacio il Vasto,” a 13th century nobleman from the Aleramici family.

Families in Giusvalla distinguished themselves from other unrelated families with the same surname by associating themselves with their ancestral frazione (neighborhood), for example there were the Perrone della Colla, Perrone dei Dogli, Perrone della Casùrera and Giusvalla’s noble family, Perrone dell'avvocato. It was the same with all the large old families in Giusvalla.

At the time of the 1645 census in the town of Giusvalla, the following families were living in Giusvalla:

Bonifacino - 36 families
Perrone - 30 families
Baccino - 27 families
Beltrame - 25 families
Pizzorno - 14 families
Buschiazzo - 10 families
Tessore & Rabellino - 5 families
Bazzano & Brondo - 4 families
Doglio & Porro - 3 families
Astisano, Bistolfi, Ferraro, Iardino, Rapetti, Siri, Scarrone & Zuffo - 2 families
Biale, Bagnasco, Ivaldi, Laidi, Marchisio, Marenco, Richebuono, Salvo, Salvagno, Tortarolo - 1 family

As record-keeping as we know it was just beginning to develop following the Council of Trent a century before, we can perhaps consider this list an accurate representation of the earliest documented residents of our ancestral village of Giusvalla.

Some of these family names disappeared from Giusvalla over the subsequent centuries, while other families moved into Giusvalla from other towns nearby (Carozzo, Camoirano, Manzino, Pesce, Rosaio, Zunino, etc.).

Of course, you’ll only know for certain if you are related to someone by carefully documenting each generation of your family history. The rule of thumb with genealogical research is to start with yourself, obtaining documentation such as birth, marriage and death records for each vital event in every generation, which (with luck) will lead you to a starting point for researching the previous generation.

Interested in your Giusvalla family history? I started my search over 20 years ago and over the years have obtained copies of many of the original records from the Giusvalla town hall, as well as the older ecclesiastical records from the registers of Giusvalla’s parish, the church of San Matteo. If you’d like a hand getting things going with your own “family tree,” I am more than happy to share whatever I have, or get you started on your search!

In the picture: Marriage Act of Lorenzo Antonio Perrone & Maria Luigia Perrone - from the marriage registers of the parish church of San Matteo, Giusvalla


  1. Frank,

    Wonderful! That list looks a lot like the Avondale phone book.


  2. I should like very much complete the my Giusvalla's family history. I started my search in the 1986 and over the years I have obtained some copies of the original records from the Giusvalla town hall, as well as the older ecclesiastical records from the registers of Giusvalla’s parish, the church of San Matteo. I should like a hand to end my “family tree” I am more than happy if you send me your documents you have, especially those regarding families Tessore and Carozzo. However, if you can, send me all the documents of Giusvalla [Jusvallis, Visiovallis].
    Thank you very much. Greetings.

    Pietro N. Bava-Tessore